SUNNULAL RADHAVALLABHA Vs. YESHWANTSINGH AND OTHERS
HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
Yeshwantsingh And Others
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Shinde, J. -
(1.)THIS is an appln. by Sunnulal to commit Shree Yeshwantsing Kushavahs, Shree Hariharni was Dwivedi, editors of the newspaper Nava Prabhat & Shree Vanmali Dwivedi printer of the said paper for contempt of Ct. The petn. states that Cri case No. 215 of 1950 under S. 3, Gambling Act, is pending against the petnr. in the Ct. of the Addl. City Mag. of Lashkar. The non -appct. published a news item on page 4 cols 2 & 3 in the issue of the Nava Prabhat dated 26 -5 -1960. The publication of the news is prejudicial to the interest of the petnr. & is calculated to interfere with the course of justice. This act of the non -appcts. amounts to a contempt of Ct.
(2.)THE non -appets. in their reply state that Nava Prabhat has always borne in mind that due courtesy should be shown to the Ct. & its dignity be maintained, that in publishing the news they never intended to show the slightest disrespect to the Ct. & that the news has been published purely in the interest of public welfare. The reply further states that if the Ct. considers that the news in any way causes disrespect to the Ct. they express regret & tender apology for the same.
2a. Mr. Inamdar, the learned counsel for the petnr. contends that the news appearing in the issue of Nava Prabhat dated 26 -5 -1950 amounts to contempt of Ct. in so far as it tends to interfere with the due course of justice in a pending case. He also argues that the motive of the non -appcts. is immaterial. If the publication tends to prejudice a fair trial the author would be guilty of contempt of Ct. even though he did not intend to prejudice the case.
Before proceeding to determine whether the act of the opponents amounts to a contempt of Ct. or not, it is necessary to examine the law which governs the Subject -matter. The gravamen of the offence of contempt of Ct. is any interference or the likelihood of interference with the course of justice. If the flow of the stream of justice is obstructed for any reason, that obstruction whether resulting from a proper motive or from indifference or from disregard of the consequences or from accidental omission, cannot be excused. Motive of the contemner cannot be considered in determining h is guilt. The Law of Contempt by Mr. Tekchand enumerates the principles underlying the law of contempt qua press publications as follows:
(1) It is a contempt of Ct. to scandalise the Ct. or offend against the dignity of a Judge by attributing to him dishonesty or impropriety or incompetence, regardless of the fact whether the case with reference in which the offending remarks were made is pending to the Ct. or has been decided.
2. It is a contempt of Ct. to publish an article in a newspaper commenting on the proceedings of a pending criminal case or a civil suit, reflecting on the Judge, jury, the parties, their witnesses or counsel appearing in the case. It is immaterial whether the remarks are made with reference to a trial actually proceeding, or with reference to a trial which is yet to proceed, provided that the comment has a tendency to prejudice the fair trial or influence the decision.
3. It is a contempt of Ct. to publish any matter affecting the proceedings of a pending case which has a tendency to prejudice the public for, or against a. party, before the cause is finally heard. It is not necessary to prove that a Judge or jury will be prejudiced. (Vide Law of Contempt by Mr. Tekchand, 2nd Edn., p. 249.)
(3.)THESE principles have been set out by the Lahore H.C. in the case of Emparor v. Mahashe Khushal Chand, reported in, A.I.R. 1945 Lab 206 : (47 Cri. L.J. 115). Reference to these principles has also been made in Emperor v. Marmaduke Pickthall, A.I.R. 1923 Bom. 8: (24 Cri. L.J. 289) & Emperor v. Murli Manohar Prasad, : 8 pat. 323 : (A.I.R. 1929 pat. 72 : 30 Cr. L.J. 741 F.B.).
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